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Local Nature Conservation Sites

Local authorities grant the non-statutory designation Local Nature Conservation Site to areas of locally important nature.

Local Nature Conservation Sites (LNCSs) identify locally important natural heritage that could be damaged by development.

LNCSs are found in every local authority area across Scotland. All LNCSs in an area should be shown on the maps used in planning authority documents.

Types of LNCSs include:

  • Listed Wildlife Site (LWS)
  • Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC)
  • Local Geodiversity Site (LGS) – also known as Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS)

Scottish Natural Heritage, on behalf of the Local Nature Conservation Sites Working Group, published guidance for local authorities on LNCSs in Scotland. One of the Working Group’s recommendations was for all local authorities to adopt ‘Local Nature Conservation Site’ in place of many different local names.

View our online Guidance on establishing and managing Local Nature Conservation Site systems in Scotland.

Selection and designation

Many LNCSs have been identified and proposed by:

Local authorities then assess the proposed sites and decide whether to adopt them as LNCSs in their planning documents.

Protection and management

The LNCSs designation signals to planners and developers where there are natural features of some merit. It encourages them to consider early on these sensitive sites and opportunities to enhance the local environment.

Local planning policies may be used to protect LNCSs from inappropriate development.

The designation doesn’t affect how landowners and land managers manage the land within an LNCSs on a daily basis.